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The week in quotes

"AS-levels are all but meaningless. Half an A-level is precisely that. A demi qualification, signifying nothing. Half-baked, half-cocked and half-bad are other apposite adjectives which spring to mind. AS-levels fool none of the people none of the time. The kids begrudge wasting time and effort on something so unsatisfyingly incomplete. Teachers loathe teaching them. Universities don't bother to take them seriously."

Vanessa Feltz, Sunday Express

"The present AS-levels aren't working. By all means let pupils sit a less demanding exam of this kind in addition to A-levels. But let it be after two years' work not two terms. The present system has vastly increased the pressure on pupils, teachers and parents, to no real advantage."

The Evening Standard, June 6

"There are too many tests. Get rid of Sats for seven-year-olds. Scrapping the AS-levels would be popular too. But why not an even more dramatic change?

"Scrap the GCSEs. Give 14-year-olds tests and then offer them a real choice between going down an academic road and a vocational road. Three years in a revised sixth form would enable the more academically able children to do a broader range of subjects."

John Humphrys, Sunday Times

"More education does not necessarily mean more growth, as most politicians (and economists) unthinkingly suppose... To some extent education is a race: if everybody runs faster, that may be good in itself, but it does not mean that more people can finish in the top 10 per cent. In that sense, much of the extra effort may be wasted."

The Economist

"Some teachers have suggested that children in inner-city schools should learn Punjabi or Urdu rather than French or German. This is madness.

"Schooling children in their own languages will give them incentives not to integrate, which would be disastrous for the unity of the nation. Yet again, it seems elements of the teaching profession would rather pursue political correctness than properly educate the children in their charge."

Simon Heffer, Daily Mail, June 8

"The revelation that hundreds of teachers cheated in SATs tests proves that kids are being trained like battery hens. Kids are learning that teachers are prepared to fix results and cheat. Some education. OK for a career in politics, but not great for the real world."

Richard Stott, Sunday Mirror

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